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Archive for July 26th, 2009

Day 230 – 26th July 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on July 26, 2009

Sunday – Dawson City, Yukon, Canada

Still off the map but found a SourToe Cocktail to drink 🙂

After a good night’s sleep I was ready to go early. I had another pretty big day with a lot of dirt involved again and the clincher was the map I had. I had been used to being back in kms again rather than miles. So, what confused me was the map of Yukon I had which had all the distances in miles on the map, yet all the road signs were in kms, go figure! This meant things were not as close as I thought. The first bit of road was good gravel and I had some pace up, which was fun 🙂 Once again I am off the map, so my GPS tracks show the basic route I took.

I had been having a few dramas with my SPOT device, the belt clip had broken off a week or so ago, and what I had done instead was to attach some good velcro which I had a heap of. But, these roads were just too much for the velcro and it kept falling off, so this morning I had modified it with some tape that was supposed to tie my rolled up tent together.

This seemed to work for a while, but it was not a big success at all. I could not bolt it on as it is attached to me, so I need it to come with me, anyway, it is an ongoing project, one day I will sort out how to do this properly 🙂 Back to the ride, Sean had told me about some vicious ice heaves but he told me they were a bit further up the road, so it was lucky I saw the warning signs for gravel road ahead and slowed down because I hit them, but not all that hard!

The first one was OK, it was just the one behind it that can dump you off, I survived with just a small amount of whoopsidoo. Just up the road was the turnoff to the town of Faro, it seemed like an interesting place, but as it was a fair hike to get there and had no fuel, I just stopped and read some info boards before continuing on to Carmacks.

Just up the road about half an hour or so I decided it was too cold and stopped to add some gear. As I already had on my thermal underdaks, this meant the heated gear, the first work out for it 🙂

I am not sure whether the pants worked or not, but the jacket and gloves warmed me up nicely. Of course, having all this gear on makes it hard to go for a leak so that is another issue to deal with. I have on 4 layers down below, jocks, thermal underdaks, heated daks and the armoured riding pants, lucky I am not a shiela, that would be a real pain! Another hour of nice country riding and I am starting to get close to the fire I had heard about, the road was open but the smoke was quite thick. I found a Yukon fire backpack in the middle of the road, so I stopped and hung it up in a tree in case the firemen were looking for it.

That was another learning curve, with the electric stuff on I was now attached to the bike with two cables and I have to remember to turn off the heated gear before switching the bike off. The smoke only lasted about half an hour or so, but in that time I reckon I inhaled a packet!! But after that I was into clear air again with some nice curvy roads and great scenery. 🙂

I stopped at a historic marker at a place where a ship sank.

The road had been mixed today, dirt then paved in small sections which was weird really, I would have expected the paved section to be continuous rather than the way it is!! I arrived at the small town of Carmacks where I fuelled up and bought a nice hot dog and fries for lunch, my breakfast had been two muesli bars.

I spent a pleasant hour here relaxing, filled my water bladder and more importantly stripped my helmet down to clean the visor. The anti fog system that comes with the helmet is excellent, but as I ride with the visor up most of the time, bugs and dust get in between the ‘pinlock’ shield and the main visor, this means it is next to useless in dust from oncoming traffic. Just up the road a ways was a geography lesson, it was a fair hike to the river, so I gave it a miss!

Some more nice roads turned up which meant a faster speed, I should be out of the dirt now as this is the main highway from Whitehorse to Dawson City. I had seen these funny poles all up the road, they seemed to be markers of some sort, but I have no idea what for, they were on both sides of the road, but not adjacent to each other?

I stopped at a small place just to top up with fuel, I am learning. I spoke too soon about the road though, there were heaps of repairs, they must have been ice heaves which have been removed, but the bitumen truck has not turned up yet. You get a warning with the orange signs, it is usually wise to slow down quickly when you see them.

They seemed to be clearing the road edges around here, lots of tree piles but I am not sure if it is to be road widening, or just for safety.

After a bit more smoke haze I arrived at Dawson City around 5pm, it has been another long day and I was a bit tired and of course dirty and smelly 🙂

I asked at the info centre and I was pointed to a campground just up the road a few blocks, real close to town, great stuff. The site was not the best, more thick gravel and hard to get pegs in, but it was close to the action and was quite cheap, plus they had internet and showers!!

I was next to a couple of guys who were riding BMWs and had just come back from Prudhoe Bay, they reckon it is a well conditioned dirt road with high speeds possible. They advised me about a few things, one of them being, stop at Coldfoot overnight, then do the ride in one day there and back, this was because Coldfoot was 20c warmer than Prudhoe Bay and the cost of a room up there is around the $200/night mark. No camping up there, apparently the Polar bears roam the street all the time, so it is not wise. Anyway, Marcus shouted me a beer and after a short time setting up I was ready for a well earned shower. After that I headed to town, all the streets are dirt and all the buildings are old and still used, very quaint! Of course I stopped at a few bars to quench my thirst!

I found an ATM, but for some reason my money transfer had not happened yet, strange, but I had enough for a good evening 🙂 It was late by now, when I mean late I mean after 8.30pm, but I had heard from the last bar about this thing called a Sourtoe Cocktail, that seemed like something a mad crazy Aussie should do, so off I go to the Downtown Hotel, just up the road.

I ordered some tucker as I was starving and they made a mean hamburger, it was excellent, I will be back for another I reckon. In the meantime I watched some girls go for the prize. The story is you buy a drink, then get given the spiel by the mad pirate dude, then when you have drunk the drink AND let the toe touch your lips, you pay another $5 for the certificate, seems like fun to me, so I gave it a go.

Here is a video of the spiel that is given to each drinker, if you swallow the toe, it will cost you $500 AND one of your toes as a replacement!! Those people on my mailing list may have already seen it but here it is for those aren’t.

Being a cheapskate I of course did not swallow it but it did touch my lips, it was a gross looking thing as well, it looked like a dried up dogs dick yuck!!

I had met Andrew and Nikita here, Andrew took the video of me, thanks for that m8, Nikita put on a show but did get the job done 🙂

I grabbed some ice from the bar and some coke and went back to the full campground for a few rums with the Swedish bikers and some mad German girls camped nearby, you would not think it was 10.50pm by this photo!

So, we had a few beers and some rum and around 1.30am we called it quits, mind you there was no more beer or coke, so it was a done deal. The last photo shows that it does get dark after all here, but not for long though.

Day 371 miles and 597 km
Trip – 27,620 miles and 44,450 km


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